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Sally Maresh Proclaims ‘Oh Happy Day!’

Posted on October 1, 2019, by Loretto Community

Remarks from Lisa Reynolds, Mary Ellen McElroy and Sally Maresh

Welcome Sally! – Loretto Community members welcome Loretto co-member, Sally Maresh. From left are Lisa Reynolds, Mary Ellen McElroy, Sally, Mary Catherine Rabbitt, Barbara Nicholas and Cathy Mueller. (Photo by Ruth Routten)

Lisa Reynolds introduced Sally Maresh at her celebration on Aug. 24 by saying, in part, “In my role as the co-membership coordinator, I am blessed to get to know the co-members-in-process, which makes my job one of the best jobs on the planet! To share with individuals such as Sally our love of Loretto, its members and its values, to readily do what is asked because our commitment is so deep, to walk in the mystery of being a part of something that is often hard to define but clearly felt as a calling or connection beyond words, is nothing less, in my mind, than a divine gift. To have shared this with Sally over the course of her co-membership process has led not only to our current working relationship, but also to a cherished friendship.”

‘Clothe Yourself with the New Self’

Mary Ellen McElroy talked about being Sally’s contact person throughout the process: “Sally chose the quote from Ephesians for her program: ‘Clothe yourself with the New Self — the God-Self filled with truth and holiness that is being offered to all of us by God.’ That is what Sally has been up to these past five years. Just becoming more of what she already is: a loving, committed, faith-filled, God-filled human being. 

“I have never seen Sally shy away from anything. She has that quality of being curious that stirs within her whenever she is presented with a new adventure! As a co-member-in-process, she accepted the challenge of working as an intern for six months with the LEN (Loretto Earth Network) group. This is a fearless group in Loretto who takes on whatever it is to wake us up from our illusions regarding climate change. Sally persevered in the LEN for her internship and came out better for it!

Loretto Preswident Barbara Nicholas joins Sally Maresh, at right, to celebrate her co-membership. (Photo by Ruth Routten)

“She accepted the challenge to be a part of another fearless group, the Outreach Team, to which she is committed. After she was accepted as a co-member, Sally agreed to be on the Community Group Working Group, the new coordinating group for the two yearly Community Group meetings. Sally again dived right in. Having such good skills, she has saved us from what I thought were complicated, unsolvable situations.”

Excerpts from Sally’s Remarks

Here are excerpts from Sally’s remarks:

“Oh Happy Day! “I am so grateful to the Divine Spirit that has brought me here today, and I am especially grateful to have my two families here with me. (Brothers, sisters, spouses, partners, nephews and niece.)

“But the reason I am here is my other family — my Loretto family, who have changed my life forever. I have lived a very fortunate life full of gifts from God. I grew up with wonderful parents who gave us a rich family life. I had a great education in Catholic schools in Denver, educated by the Sisters of Loretto, including Cathy Mueller, Mary Nelle Gage, Nancy Wittwer, and Marian Andrews.  I fell into a legal career, which began at the Denver Department of Human Services (DHS), and expanded into more ways to serve the poor with my education. I worked at DHS, the Colorado Bar Association Legal Services in the legal aid office, where I got to know Mary Catherine Rabbitt, and later in the University of Denver Law Student Clinic, where I taught and represented clients through Legal Aid and the Public Defenders Office.

“In 1998, I had a horrific car accident that left me with severe head injuries. I fell into an abyss of despair and depression. I became reclusive and sullen and found myself unable to do the work I had loved so much all my life. I discovered that without my work, my life had become shallow and unfulfilling. I knew I was not living the life God wanted for me, nor the life I wanted for myself. This continued for another 14 years despite therapy and medication. Not surprisingly, I developed some serious and even life-threatening illnesses. I began going to church again and prayed and prayed and prayed, because I didn’t know what else to do.

‘It is important that nothing in our lives cuts us off from other human beings. Rather, we try to live so that everything about us, our words and works and manner of living, promotes understanding and peace among ourselves and others.’

‘I Am the Way.,’ Number 22

“In 2014, I decided one day that I had to get out of the house and try to be with other people, and I went to a retirement party at the University of Denver for one of my former professors and co-workers, who was also a former director of Legal Aid in Denver. There I ran into Mary Catherine Rabbitt again, whom I had not seen in many years. I knew she was also committed to doing the work I loved, and she seemed so happy. I talked with her about what it was like to be a Sister of Loretto, and she suggested we have lunch.

“After I told my story of depression and reclusiveness, my friend Dr. Julie Popham read her paper, which contained Number 22 from I Am the Way, which reads: ‘It is important that nothing in our lives cuts us off from other human beings. Rather, we try to live so that everything about us, our words and works and manner of living, promotes understanding and peace among ourselves and others.’

‘Loretto has changed my life in every way.’

– Sally Maresh

“The process has been unbelievably rewarding and has only gotten better every day. Loretto has changed my life in every way. I am learning to appreciate all of the human family, including those whom I don’t understand, or who might have upset or angered me in the past. I have a new appreciation of animals, of nature and Mother Earth, God’s greatest gifts to us all. I am learning to be political without hate, to be discerning without being judgmental or egotistical, and to love without condition. I owe all this to Loretto, which is the manifestation of the Divine in my life. It is this belief that causes me to commit my whole being to Loretto today. As an expression of that commitment, I make the following promises to you:

Sally’s Promises to Loretto

“I agree:

• To participate in whatever ways my talents can be most effective,

• To strive to find the work and spiritual purpose that God wants for me,

• To contribute my time, money and devotion to the goals of working and acting for peace and justice,

• To fulfill the objectives of the Community from its inception to its evolution to today and into the future,

• To serve the Loretto Community and the Community of God (being all people), in ways that are spiritually expected and necessary,

• To be involved in meetings, committees and groups however possible and participate in achieving the mission of the Loretto Community in whatever way I am asked and able to perform.

‘I thank all of you, my brothers and sisters, for this transformation in my life and for the opportunity to pursue the life that God wants me to live.’

– Sally Maresh

“I thank all of you, my brothers and sisters, for this transformation in my life and for the opportunity to pursue the life that God wants me to live. I thank you all, and particularly, Mary Ellen, my contact person, our President Barbara Nicholas, who came all the way from Kentucky to celebrate with us today, Mary Catherine, Cathy and Lisa, who are all part of our ceremony today.

“I look forward to my life with you for many years to come and to discovering the many wonders that reveal the Divine Spirit through life in Loretto. I love you all.”

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Loretto welcomes you

Learn more or plan a visit to the Motherhouse!